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Vulture

Robinson Jeffers 1887 (Allegheny) – 1962 (Carmel-by-the-Sea)

I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside
Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture wheeling
  high up in heaven,
And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit
  narrowing,
  I understood then
That I was under inspection. I lay death-still and heard the flight-
  feathers
Whistle above me and make their circle and come nearer.
I could see the naked red head between the great wings
Bear downward staring. I said, 'My dear bird, we are wasting time
  here.
These old bones will still work; they are not for you.' But how
  beautiful
  he looked, gliding down
On those great sails; how beautiful he looked, veering away in the
  sea-light
  over the precipice. I tell you solemnly
That I was sorry to have disappointed him. To be eaten by that beak
  and
  become part of him, to share those wings and those eyes--
What a sublime end of one's body, what an enskyment; what a life
  after death.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Robinson Jeffers

John Robinson Jeffers was an American poet, known for his work about the central California coast. more…

All Robinson Jeffers poems | Robinson Jeffers Books

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